July 28 is a great night to connect with friends and neighbours – and help prevent violence against women at the same time.
White Ribbon has called on residents to host a White Ribbon Night event.
White Ribbon CEO Libby Davies said this year’s events would focus on the benefits of strengthening community relationships, and building support networks within neighbourhoods.
White Ribbon Advocate and mother of three Simone O’Brien was brutally attacked by a former partner in 2012. She survived only because three of her neighbours raced to her aid.
Simone spent a month in intensive care on life support as a result of the attack, during which time her children prepared to say goodbye to her.
“I would not be here today if it wasn’t for the help of my neighbours. I owe them my life,” she said.
“I would encourage everyone to get to know their neighbours. You never know what’s happening behind someone’s door and when you or someone else may need a helping hand.”
One woman is killed every week in Australia as a result of intimate partner violence, on average, according to data from White Ribbon.
White Ribbon Ambassador Associate Professor Michael Flood said building communities with norms of respect, non-violence and equality would have a powerful impact on rates of domestic and family violence.
“Perpetrators will feel far less able to get away with using violence, victims will find it easier to seek support and to escape violence, and friends and neighbours will be more likely to take action when they suspect there is abuse,” he said.
Research conducted by VicHealth into community attitudes indicates 98 per cent of survey respondents were likely to intervene if they knew a woman experiencing domestic violence.
“White Ribbon Night is an opportunity for Australians to reach out to their neighbours, start important conversations which raise awareness of domestic violence against women and build strong community bonds that could be lifesaving,” Ms Davies said.
White Ribbon’s primary prevention initiatives aim to stop violence before it happens, through education, awareness raising and by challenging ingrained attitudes and power inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women.
Funds raised through White Ribbon Night go towards prevention programs in schools, workplaces and the broader community.